Are the Blazers done?

Hey all if you want more a more in depth look at the numbers beyond this article I suggest you check out our Wins Produced numbers. If you want to know how they work check out our tutorial. If you need even more data fun I suggest you check out Patrick’s Player Comparison Engine or Basketball-Reference’s Player Comparison Finder.

Last season a last minute save from Michael Jordan kept the Blazers from fading out of significance in the Western conference. This season there are a few reasons why I think the Blazers will likely take a step back.

The Blazers lose Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez

Last season Brandon Roy was not up to snuff.  But a mere two seasons ago in the 2008-2009 season he was a top ten player in the league producing 13.6 wins. In short, Brandon Roy was a superstar cut short by injury. Such players are hard to replace and it is unlikely Portland will any time soon.

The Nuggets good fortune in acquiring Rudy Fernandez came at the expense of the Blazers. With no Brandon Roy the Blazers really could use another player to fill the void. Fernandez was not the same superstar player Roy was, but he was solid and not having him to take over will hurt the Blazers.

That brings me to my next point.

The Blazers sign Jamal Crawford

The Blazers have signed Jamal Crawford to a two year deal. There are several problems with this. The first is that Crawford just isn’t very good. Here are his numbers over the last three seasons.

Jamal Crawford’s numbers from 2009-2011
Player Season MP WP48 WP
Jamal Crawford 2011 2297 0.054 2.59
 Jamal Crawford 2010 2460 0.104 5.34
 Jamal Crawford 2009 2479 0.034 1.77

Crawford’s best season in 2010 had him just about average. In general though he is a terrible player that does not contribute much. A worse problem is he is 31 this year. Let’s repeat ourselves – in the NBA players age like milk! They do not bring winning attitudes, or veteran leadership to the locker room! They bring declining play. That’s even worse if the player wasn’t that good to begin with.

Marcus Camby is getting older

Marcus Camby is one of my favorite players of all time. His time in Denver was special and he didn’t deserve the exit he got. That said he is getting older. Last season he was the Blazers best player with a WP48 of 0.237 (over twice as good as the average center) and produced 7.6 wins. While this production is very good, it is a far cry from the numbers he put up in his prime. At 37 the question is when — not if — his game will disappear. I can hope for him to drink some of the same Gatorade as Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, but given Camby’s injuries and decreased play time I wouldn’t hang my hat on him keeping Portland relevant.

Still some hope?

I actually like Portland. I believe Justin Kubatko (the creator of Basketball-Reference) was/is a consultant for them. That might be enough for some hope right there. There are three reasons I can see to still give Portland some hope.

  • Raymond Felton is pretty good. The last two seasons he’s produced over 6 wins each year.
  • Gerald Wallace is a star. Two seasons ago he was top five in the league. Last season with some injury problems he was still top 25.
  • Greg Oden might get healthy.

Okay, the Oden point indicates I am just trying to keep a straight face and give Portland some optimism!

-Dre

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